Patients with the nucleotide excision repair (NER) disorder xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) are highly predisposed to develop sunlight-induced skin cancer, in remarkable contrast to photosensitive NER-deficient trichothiodystrophy (TTD) patients carrying mutations in the same XPD gene. XPD encodes a helicase subunit of the dually functional DNA repair/basal transcription complex TFIIH. The pleiotropic disease phenotype is hypothesized to be, in part, derived from a repair defect causing UV sensitivity and, in part, from a subtle, viable basal transcription deficiency accounting for the cutaneous, developmental, and the typical brittle hair features of TTD. To understand the relationship between deficient NER and tumor susceptibility, we used a mouse model for TTD that mimics an XPD point mutation of a TTD patient in the mouse germline. Like the fibroblasts from the patient, mouse cells exhibit a partial NER defect, evident from the reduced UV-induced DNA repair synthesis (residual repair capacity ~25%), limited recovery of RNA synthesis after UV exposure, and a relatively mild hypersensitivity to cell killing by UV or 7,12- dimethylbenz[a]anthracene. In accordance with the cellular studies, TTD mice exhibit a modestly increased sensitivity to UV-induced inflammation and hyperplasia of the skin. In striking contrast to the human syndrome, TTD mice manifest a clear susceptibility to UV- and 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene- induced skin carcinogenesis, albeit not as pronounced as the totally NER- deficient XPA mice. These findings open up the possibility that TTD is associated with a so far unnoticed cancer predisposition and support the notion that a NER deficiency enhances cancer susceptibility. These findings have important implications for the etiology of the human disorder and for the impact of NER on carcinogenesis.
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Jul 1999|